First name and last initial: Jennifer R.
Where are you from originally or reside currently? Pittsburgh, PA
How long you have been cosplaying? 6 and a half years
Other Characters cosplayed: I’ve cosplayed 87 variations of 39 different characters!
Who or what inspired you to cosplay? When I first started going to cons, some of my best friends cosplayed. I thought it was so cool that people knew them by the characters that they cosplayed! I was incredibly impressed that they took so much time to bring these characters to life. I had an acting background already at that point, and really wanted to do the same, so I put together my first real cosplay for my first Otakon in 2011, and never looked back!
What do you do when you aren’t cosplaying?
My biggest hobby is dancing! I’m a part of the YouTube dance group DTP, and I like to learn dances in my spare time. I also really enjoy sewing. When I’m not busy sewing a cosplay I like to work on little passion projects for myself. I work for a medical science department at a University full time as well!
What costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far and why? The most challenging cosplay I ever had to make was my IDOLM@STER Dreamin Iris Mami Cosplay. It involved so many techniques I had never attempted before, with some fairly challenging fabrics. I was in a group of significantly more talented cosplayers than myself, and I felt very overwhelmed. But that cosplay taught me so much, and really helped me level up! It also helped me prove to myself that I can take on things I’m not comfortable with and learn from them!
This past year I also made two swimsuits without a pattern, Serah from Final Fantasy, and Elise from Fire Emblem. They were both challenging, but incredibly fun to make!
What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying? Cosplay for you, and cosplay to have fun! I have the most fun when I do cosplays with friends, so try to team up with a friend with similar interests. It feels like there’s really a push to be the best or most impressive or the first to do something, but having any goal like that is just going to cause unnecessary stress. Why not be the one who’s having the most fun or with the biggest smile instead?
Also, you’ll probably never (or rarely) feel that a cosplay is perfect, and that’s ok! Everyone feels that way.
What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other? To be completely honest, I don’t really find myself involved with the larger cosplay community, and I don’t keep up with it a lot. But one of the most fun things about cosplaying is sharing your tips and tricks and collaborating with each other, so I hope to see more of that in the future on a bigger scale! Build each other up to be the best you can be!